How to tell the difference between white briar and meerschaum
I recently acquired a pipe for next to nothing (a whole $5! WOOT!) that looks to be in great condition. It is a billiard shaped straight pipe that has a lucite stem with a screw mount tenon on it. The bowl of the pipe is white and looks like it has barely been smoked, but the only problem is that there is absolute no markings, no name brand, no maker, no stamp, no nothing to tell me what it is or where it came from? Is there a way that I can tell if this thing is white briar or meerschaum? My camera is on the fritz right now, otherwise I would take a picture of it. Anyway, if someone knows any way that could help me identify this thing I would greatly appreciate it.
I usually associate the label "White Briar" with the Kaywoodie line of pipes. They "painted" this line of pipes white, but underneath they are really a regular brown briar. Some claim they did this to hide flaws, others state they have cleaned the finish off and the briar below was just as nice as any other pipe the made. Meerschaum is what it is, a block of white mineral soft enough to be carved and created into great figures annd shapes. Take a look in the bowl, is it white or wood? Undo the stem, Kaywoodies usually have a metal joint and a "stinger" on the end of the stem. Meers usually have plastic looking joints. Kaywoodies usually have a bunch of info on the pipe, trademark clover, a lot of names and designations etc., often Meers seem plain and lacking markings. My guess is it is a Meer. Enjoy it.
While Kaywoodie is the maker that made a lot of white painted pipes, so did Dr Grabow, Medico and other lower end pipe makers. It was a fad that was popular for awhile. If you can still see inside the bowl, that will tell you as they would have left the wood unpainted in there. Another place to look is the inside of the shank where the stem connects, they would have left that unpainted as well. White painted pipes tend to have a shiny, enamel finish while meers will have a chalk like finish. Another way you can tell is meers are lighter in weight than brair pipes. I also have never seen any metal in the screw on stem while briar they tended too. Hope this helps.
Great answer jcsnaps. Thanks.
So I was browsing my old posts and when I saw this one, I knew exactly where the pipe in question was at, and seeing as how my camera is working again, I decided to post some pics so you guys could tell me what you think.
Take a look in the bowl, is it white or wood?
The inside of the bowl is white, as you will see.
White painted pipes tend to have a shiny, enamel finish while meers will have a chalk like finish
This pipe looks like it has an enamel finish, but has other characteristics of a meer. Im so confused! Tell me what you guys think.
There is a marking that says "x5" or "5x" on both the end of the shank and on the stem next to the tenon.
It almost looks like there was something here at one time, but was then taken off. A sticker or label, maybe?
that is a Meer nice pick up for 5 bucks
That is most definitely a meer. Awesome price and it seems to be in great condition. It would be interesting if anyone could tell if it's block or pressed meerschaum.
You should immediately be able to tell it's a meer, simply by holding it... they're much much MUCH lighter than briars.
I'm joining this one late.
But, the photo inside the shank tells me it's a meer.
I vote with Pawpaw.
"Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put." Winston Churchill
Agreed, thats a great score on a nice simple meer.
I heard about a good test for meer while trying to find out how to identify pressed vs. block.
Assuming there isn't too much cake build-up, simply lick your finger, and wipe a bit of saliva inside the tobacco chamber. If the pipe in question is block meer, the saliva will be absorbed fairly quickly. If the pipe in question is pressed meer, the saliva will be absorbed slowly. If the pipe in question is briar, the saliva will sit on top.
I haven't really had much opportunity to play around with this, and I am sure that in a heavily smoked or waxed meer the hydrodynamic qualities would be slightly different, but it seemed timely.
Meer! and a great price on it too!
Southerners don't talk slow because they're dumb, we do it because there's really no rush.
Nice Meer for $5! Based on what I read on the meer sites, it's best to avoid unscrewing the tenon like that (in the pic above) as can damage the meer if done very often. Just pull and twist clockwise to separate the tenon and leave the female part of the fitting screwed into the bowl.
You probably know that by now and were just fully disassembling for your initial cleaning but I just wanted to mention so no one sees the meer taken apart like that and decides that's the way for normal cleanings.
Depends on the fitting Cooper. Older meers had screw in tenons as the only fit and later two part fittings were introduced.
"Enjoy every sandwich." -Warren Zevon
Best advice that I've ever heard.
look at the photo,looks like grain under the paint.
smokin my homemade rustic pipe. don`t get any better.
Definitely a Meer, good deal for 5 bucks, I reacently purchased a lightly smoke SMS claw/egg meer for 12 bucks, the deals are out there
Congress seems to believe that 'Children are our future' is a phrase coined by tobacco advertisers.
Jef I. Richards
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